Last night I was feeling vaguely guilty for the part where I was sitting around knitting and reading short stories after dinner, while A tidied gently and handled some paperwork he needed to get done.
Today Why time is a feminist issue
came across my dash again:
What I didn't know at the time was that this is what time is like for most women: fragmented, interrupted by child care and housework. Whatever leisure time they have is often devoted to what others want to do – particularly the kids – and making sure everyone else is happy doing it. Often women are so preoccupied by all the other stuff that needs doing – worrying about the carpool, whether there's anything in the fridge to cook for dinner – that the time itself is what sociologists call "contaminated."
I came to learn that women have never had a history or culture of leisure. (Unless you were a nun, one researcher later told me.) That from the dawn of humanity, high status men, removed from the drudge work of life, have enjoyed long, uninterrupted hours of leisure. And in that time, they created art, philosophy, literature, they made scientific discoveries and sank into what psychologists call the peak human experience of flow.
Women aren't expected to flow.
Which was a useful coincidence.
(I'd done and hung out the laundry, and put the previous round away. I'd gone out and bought groceries. I'd planned and made dinner and dessert; I served up as he walked in the door from work. We'd been trading executive function and social mammal reinforcement all day. And I still felt like I didn't ought to sit around knitting for an hour, especially not if he was doing housework, because I should be helping
, because of course I did, because the patriarchy. It is, I find, very helpful to end up in situations where this discomfort arises, the what-should-I-be-doing-to-help
, and the answer's nothing, keep on with what you're doing, I've got this.)